Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Rooftop Teppanyaki

Forty-five has quickly become the talk of the town with a few fine restaurants opening in quick succession in this complex spanning multiple floors on top of Gloucester Tower. I had a chance to visit two of their outlets in March, starting with Kaen Teppanyaki in one Monday evening.  

There’s no lack of choices as far as teppanyaki cuisine is concerned in Hong Kong but this place stood out for its view (of course) and also solid cooking by the team headed by Chef Yoshiyuki Sato. While most of the cooking was done in the show kitchen right in front of us at the counter, a few dishes from our tasting menu was prepared from the kitchen inside, starting with the bowl of crab meat chawanmushi served as our first course of the evening. The custard was done in soft and silky style topped with picked crab meat and thickened dashi. 

The appetizer platter quickly followed – while it’s consensus that the foie gras dorayaki was the best among the three, with the dorayaki pancake prepared a la minute and served warm with the cold slab of foie gras terrine in between, I also enjoyed the uni mousse with the equally rich flavor but softer in texture. 

Normally the tasting menu came with a choice of seafood or wagyu courses but this time they served us a smaller portion of each instead. The tiger prawn came in good size and the rich garlic brown butter sauce gave it a rich smoky hint – maybe even better if it’s a tad bit less burnt. The ox tongue was also very decent, cut thick and grilled with shredded fresh daikon placed on top to balance some of the fatty flavor.  The single piece of shiitake mushroom, the only non meat item in the menu, was perfectly done. 

We were given a sample of all three wagyu steak offered as choices, starting with Kumamoto Akaushi, then Kumamoto Wao and the Ozaki Wagyu. Each were excellent in their own rights. The Kumamoto Wao from the Black Cattle breed was perhaps the one with the most marbling with almost like a melt-in-the-mouth texture, while Akaushi, from the brown-hair breed, has a stronger meaty flavor and more balanced marbling. The Ozaki beef was perhaps the most prized and exclusive one, coming from the famous farmer Muneharu Ozaki in Miyazaki Prefecture who supplies only to a few restaurants in town, with even more marbling and to me, the clear winner of this evening’s lineup. With such good quality meat nothing else was needed as far as condiments were concerned, but I did like the crispy garlic and dab of wasabi served on the side, which worked well with the piece of rich steak. 

Fried rice done a la plancha may be the more common course found in a teppanyaki restaurant, but this time we were served Kamameshi, prepared in the large earthenware casserole and cooked with dashi and seasonal ingredients. We came right in the beginning of firefly squid season so that’s what we had, cooked with the beef drippings and topped with salmon roes. It got the best flavor from the land and the sea for sure, and I couldn’t help but to ask for a refill. After the savory course, we retreated to the table at the back side dining room for a comforting pot of freshly brewed hojicha, and the matcha mont blanc dessert to cap off an evening of meat and seafood feast and plenty of gossip and laughter with this crazy Libra bunch. 

When? March 4 2024
Where? Kaen Teppanyaki at Forty-Five, Gloucester Tower, The Landmark, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Grilled Ozaki Beef Teppanyaki-style
Drinks? 2020 Domaine Denis Marchand, Fixin AOC “Vieilles Vignes”
Web: www.kaenteppanyaki.com

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